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Drive and Curiosity: What Fuels the Passion for Science
Foreword by Carl Djerassi, Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Stanford University,Recipient of the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of TechnologyPreface by Sir Harold "Harry" Kroto, Nobel laureate, Francis Eppes Professor, Florida State UniversityIntroduction by Robert F. Curl, Nobel laureate, K. S....
Foreword by Carl Djerassi, Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Stanford University,Recipient of the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of TechnologyPreface by Sir Harold "Harry" Kroto, Nobel laureate, Francis Eppes Professor, Florida State UniversityIntroduction by Robert F. Curl, Nobel laureate, K. S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Natural Sciences, Emeritus, Rice UniversityAll scientists possess curiosity and a certain level of drive to pursue their work. But what fuels those few scientists who rise above their peers to achieve breakthrough discoveries?In a book full of revealing insights, Istvan Hargittai—a highly respected physical chemist himself—examines the careers of fifteen eminent scientists who achieved some of the most notable discoveries of the twentieth century. Dr. Hargittai, who was personally acquainted with all but two of the scientists whose work he discusses, provides a unique perspective on the history of twentieth-century science based on these engaging personality profiles. They include:James D. Watson, the Nobel laureate and codiscoverer of the double helix structure of DNA;Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate whose science will be remembered most for his work on the structure of proteins;Edward Teller, a giant of the twentieth century, who accomplished breakthroughs in our understanding of nuclear fusion; andGeorge Gamow, a pioneering scientist who devised the initially ridiculed and now accepted Big Bang origin of the universe.In each case, Hargittai has uncovered a single personality characteristic, motivational factor, or circumstance that, in addition to their extraordinary drive and curiosity, led these scientists to make outstanding contributions. For example, Gertrude B. Elion, who discovered drugs that have saved millions of lives, was motivated to find new medications after the deaths of her grandfather and later her fiance. F. Sherwood Rowland, who stumbled upon the environmental harm caused by chlorofluorocarbons, eventually felt the moral imperative to become an environmental activist. Rosalyn Yalow, the codiscoverer of the radioimmunoassay, always felt she had to prove herself in the face of prejudice against her as a woman.These and many more fascinating revelations make Drive and Curiosity a compelling page-turner and a must-read for everyone who wants to know what traits and circumstances contribute to a person's becoming the scientist who makes the big breakthrough.
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